'Electrifying Mexico' has won another award, and high praise from the field.
Diana Montaño, assistant professor of history, has won the Bolton-Johnson Prize for her book, Electrifying Mexico: Technology and the Transformation of a Modern City (University of Texas Press). Given by the Conference on Latin American History, the prize is awarded annually for the best book published in English on Latin American history. This is the third prize awarded to the book since its publication in 2021, including the 2022 Alfred B. Thomas Book Award and the 2022 Urban History Association’s Best Book in Non-North American Urban History (co-winner).
Electrifying Mexico examines the role of electricity in Mexico’s political and economic evolution, through a grounded analysis centered on everyday life that follows the people and their ambitions in how they employ the technology. Montaño also explores how electricity colored issues of gender, race, and class in ways specific to Mexico.
“Because electricity has been a part of our lives, it can seem invisible,” but Montaño shows through a prose that is “deft and absorbing...the ways in which it transformed Mexico City and challenged the citizens of the metropolis to adapt but also tailor the technology to their purposes,” the Bolton-Johnson award committee said of Montaño’s work. The committee called the book a “major contribution” to the historiography on Mexico, Latin America, and technology in the Global South, and predicts that it will be broadly read and taught.
“Receiving the Bolton-Johnson prize for my first book is monumental,” said Montaño. “It’s particularly special to me since past recipients include some of the scholars whose work I have long-admired in the field.”